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Mark Stoops makes Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award Watch List

This season saw Mark Stoops pass Bear Bryant to become the program’s all-time winningest coach.

Mark Stoops Chris Humphrey Photo

Kentucky Wildcats football head coach Mark Stoops has made the Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award Watch List.

This award is given annually to a college football coach for contributions that make the sport better for athletes and fans alike by demonstrating grit, integrity and a winning approach to coaching and life – both on and off the field. Stoops is one of 25 coaches to make the list.

The American Heart Association and the Bryant family present this award to celebrate Bear Bryant’s legacy and raise awareness and funds for research to eliminate suffering and death caused by cardiovascular disease and stroke, the leading causes of death globally. The football coaching legend died from a heart attack in 1983.

In September, Stoops became the program’s all-time winningest coach when the Wildcats upset then-ranked No. 12 Florida in The Swamp, 26-16, giving him 61 total wins, surpassing Bryant’s mark of 60-23 as the Wildcats’ head man from 1946-53.

The Wildcats are now 5-2 overall record, including 2-2 in SEC play, after upsetting No. 16 Mississippi State at home on Saturday for its second win over a ranked team this season.

The Wildcats currently sit at No. 19 in AP Top 25 Poll and No. 18 in the Coaches Top 25 Poll. They were ranked in the top 10 (7th in the AP Poll) for three straight weeks in September, the first time that’s happened since 1977.

In September, Stoops was named Honorary Coach of the AFCA Good Works Team, in recognition of the millions of dollars he has helped raise and other service events he has done for the Kentucky Children’s Hospital. He is also on the midseason watch list for the Dodd Trophy.

This year’s award-winner will be announced January 11th, 2023, during an awards ceremony. Fans can follow the action at, or the hashtag #BryantAwards.